Kaizen:The Key To Japan’s Competitive Success


Walking down on one of the streets of Istanbul, I have seen a sign that says “Japanese Bazaar”. This was a place where everything was very cheap and low quality. It was the image of Japanese products in the past and now they are the symbol of hard-working and high-quality, so how did they achieve it?

The answer is Kaizen:

What is Kaizen ?

Kaizen is the the translation of kai (“change”) zen (“good”) is ”improvement” in Japanese. It is sometimes known as “Continuous Improvement Process”. The basic idea is not to have revolutionary changes but to have evolutionary changes during the journey to the success.

Kaizen is mainly composed of the following elements:

  • Teamwork,
  • Personal discipline,
  • Improved morale,
  • Quality circles, and
  • Suggestions for improvement.

The Japanese Way of Doing Things

Japanese companies break down all their major jobs into three basic functions:

  • Maintenance: Keeping the business running, doing the daily tasks.(Workers)
  • Innovation: Coming up with fresh ideas and new methods. (Upper Management)
  • Kaizen : The process of ongoing, systematic, incremental improvements in the way things are done. It’s the mass  of small, almost insignificant changes that over time add up to unbeatable performance. (Everybody)

Kaizen Job Functions

Source: Kaizen Improvement

How do you think companies can apply Kaizen in their businesses?

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